The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) has designated March as Music in Our Schools Month. To celebrate, the jsquared music performance center will be highlighting people who played instruments in grade school and the impact it made on their lives.
Today, we feature DeShawn Mays. DeShawn is a retail sales associate and technician for Batteries Plus Bulbs. He is also a full time musician at Second Calvary Baptist Church.
What instrument do you play?
Trumpet and Bass Guitar
At what age did you begin to play your first instrument?
Why did you start playing?
Honestly, I joined the elementary band just to get out of class, lol! In 6th grade, I was very bored and just wanted to find an escape, so band was it. I took advantage of that moment and 13 years later, I'm still taking advantage of it.
What was your experience with music during your elementary, middle and high school years?
Elementary school, I really didn't have much experience with music. I started in late April, so, I really did not have much time with music. It was in middle school when things really started for me. I joined the high school marching band and struggled for almost an entire year trying to keep up with the others. I was determined to do so, though. By the time I reached high school, I was playing with no problems and even started challenging the older trumpet players just to make myself better and to show that I was serious about playing.
Who was your favorite music teacher? What made them your favorite?
My favorite music teacher is most definitely Ms. Sanders from Norfolk State University. She doesn't know it but she encouraged me so much to be better than I was the previous day. Ms. Sanders gave me my start on bass guitar a year ago and since then I have been performing so much more. She is most definitely my favorite music teacher because she cared so much about me even when I wanted to give up on myself.
What is your favorite band memory from grade school?
My favorite memory from grade school has to be the night I played my first double G. We were at a basketball game against our rival high school and both bands were going at it in the stands. We played " And Then What" and I hit this G and it was so clean and loud. It rang across the entire gym. The next day, I had a lot of my friends from the rival band texting me about it.
Did you play an instrument in college? Did music impact your college choice?
Music really did impact my choice of colleges that I wanted to attend. I am a student at Norfolk State University and it was their music department that made me want to go there. Since starting my journey at NSU, I have played trumpet in the trumpet ensemble, jazz ensemble, wind ensemble, and the gospel choir. I've played bass in the jazz ensemble and a few times for the Performance workshop class.
What is your current occupation?
My current occupation is retail sales associate and technician for Batteries Plus Bulbs. With that position, I run sales on the floor as well as work on all Apple product repairs. Also, I am a full time musician at Second Calvary Baptist Church.
How has music helped you in your current occupation?
With working in retail, your day can be very stressful. You meet a lot of people and not all of them are nice. Music has helped me stay sane. I listen to music everyday and I make sure to listen to music when i get frustrated.
How has music played a part in your adult life?
Being an adult means that I have a lot of bills to pay, lol. I work two full time jobs and still perform on a regular basis just to make sure that all of my bills are kept up. With growing in age comes responsibility and music has been a big help with teaching me responsibility.
What advice do you have for young musicians?
For every young musician reading this....NEVER give up on yourself. You never know who is looking up to you. Even when you feel alone just remember that music will always be there. Believe in yourself and stay humble. Humility will take you far in life.
Band email: JaDeRay2016@gmail.com
If you are ever looking for a band to perform at a function do not feel hesitant to contact me.
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